10. Miami Arena
The Miami Arena enjoyed a brief run on the major league sports stage, serving as home of the NBA’s Miami Heat from 1988 through 1999 and the NHL’s Florida Panthers for five years in the 1990s. Only a decade after its 1988 opening, its major tenant departed for a new facility, and the Miami Arena’s fate was sealed. The arena’s roof was imploded Sept. 21, 2008 to kick off the demolition process.
9. RCA Dome
Originally known as the Hoosier Dome, this domed facility in downtown Indianapolis opened in 1984 and served as the home of the Indianapolis Colts for 24 seasons. Renamed the RCA Dome in 1994, the facility was also a frequent host to high-profile basketball events, including four NCAA basketball Final Fours. This video of the implosion was allegedly shot by a demolition company employee from inside the safe zone.
8. Charlotte Coliseum
Opened in 1988 at a cost of $52 million, the Charlotte Coliseum, in Charlotte, North Carolina, seemed doomed to fail from the very beginning. On the day of its first major event, an exhibition game featuring the U.S. Olympic basketball team, the building’s multimillion dollar scoreboard plummeted to the floor. The arena’s primary tenant, the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, led the league in attendance seven straight years, but by the mid-1990s, team owner George Shinn was lobbying the city for a new facility, claiming the Coliseum’s lack of luxury suites limited the team’s income. The talks grew rancorous, and Shinn moved his team to New Orleans in 2002, the year after his team finished last in the league in attendance.
The Charlotte Coliseum was demolished on June 3, 2007, less than 19 years after opening. It makes this list not for its notoriety as a sports venue, but because of its short lifespan, as it quickly moved from the ideal basketball arena to obsolescence.
7. Market Square Arena
In terms of great demolition footage inside a building, this video wins hands down. The Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, built in 1974, first served as home of the Indiana Pacers of the American Basketball Association, then later the National Basketball Association, from 1974 through 1999. The facility also hosted two other notable events: The 1980 NCAA basketball Final Four, and the final concert by Elvis Presley, on June 26, 1977, just weeks before his death. As you might imagine, there were pundits noting that Elvis had indeed left the building when these charges started blowing on July 8, 2001.
6. Seattle Kingdome
The Kingdome in Seattle, which opened in 1976, doesn’t have nearly the sports pedigree of the other victims on this list. The NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, NBA’s Seattle Supersonics and baseball’s Seattle Mariners all played games there, and all eventually decided to move on to better facilities, leading to the March 26, 2000 implosion of the Kingdome. The most iconic Kingdom memory for fans nationwide might have come when Los Angeles Raiders running back Bo Jackson knocked over Seattle rookie linebacker Brian Bosworth to score a touchdown on a Monday Night Football game in 1987.
In terms of the implosion itself, this video offers the best view of the inside of the structure coming down, as well as some interesting last-second demo team communications. Although the building is long gone, Seattle and King County residents have an enduring Kingdome memory: As of 2010, taxpayers still owed an astonishing $80 million on the facility.
5. Cinergy Field
Cinergy Field, originally known as Riverfront Stadium, belonged to the much-maligned class of “multi-purpose” stadiums that opened around 1970 in cities such as Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Philadelphia. The multi-purpose stadiums, designed for football, baseball, concerts and other events, were generic and lacked any architectural grace. Their shortcomings became even more apparent when dedicated baseball stadiums such as Baltimore’s Camden Yards opened in the mid-1990s.
Riverfront Stadium rose to fame as the home of the Cincinnati Reds powerhouse “Big Red Machine” of the 1970s. Riverfront made history in 1970 when it became the first stadium to host a World Series game on artificial turf.
Despite the baseball team’s glory years and intermittent success by the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals, the facility, renamed Cinergy Field in 1996, suffered the same fate as its fellow “cookie-cutter” stadiums around the country. The Reds and Bengals both desired their own facilities, and they received their wishes. Riverfront Stadium/Cinergy Field was imploded Dec. 29, 2002. Note the first set of charges, which weaken the base of the structure, followed by the secondary charges that bring the upper deck crashing down.
4. Veterans Stadium
Philadelphia sports fans are notoriously hard-core, so intense they once famously booed an appearance by Santa Claus during a football game. So emotions certainly flowed as the longtime home of the Philadelphia Phillies and Philadelphia Eagles was imploded March 21, 2004. The Eagles played at “The Vet” from its 1971 opening through 2002, while the Phillies played there through 2003. Of the two teams, the Phillies enjoyed more success in the stadium, clinching the 1980 World Series championship in Veterans Stadium with a win in Game 6 against the Kansas City Royals. The Phillies were also involved in one of the most bizarre games in baseball history at the stadium, a 1993 twi-night doubleheader between Philadelphia and San Diego that began at 5:05 p.m., was delayed several times by showers, and finished the next day at 4:40 a.m., the latest finish for a game in MLB history.
3. Yankee Stadium and Giants Stadium
While Yankee Stadium and Giants Stadium were demolished by a wrecking ball, not imploded, they belong on this list somewhere given their importance to the New York sports community and the sports world in general. Giants Stadium, located in the East Rutherford, New Jersey, served as home of the NFL’s New York Giants from 1976 through 2009, while the New York Jets played there beginning in 1984, and won the last NFL game ever played there on Jan. 3, 2010. The stadium hosted two of the wackiest finishes in NFL history. In the first, the Giants saw a sure win in a 1978 game against the Philadelphia Eagles vanish when quarterback Joe Pisarcik fumbled a handoff in the closing seconds. The ball was recovered and taken in for the winning touchdown by Eagles defender Herman Edwards — who ironically later coached the New York Jets in The Meadowlands. During a Monday Night Football game in 2000, the Jets scored 30 points in the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins to overcome a 30-7 deficit. They would go on to win in overtime.
As far as Yankee Stadium, home of the Yankees from 1923 through 2008, nothing can be said that hasn’t already been said. It was certainly the most historic sports venue of the 20th century. It was demolished in 2010.
2. Texas Stadium
Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas, was well known by NFL fans not only as the home of the Dallas Cowboys, but for its quirky design, which featured a large hole in the roof over the playing field. Former Cowboys linebacker D.D. Lewis once quipped that, “Texas Stadium has a hole in the roof so God can watch his favorite team play.” The stadium, which cost $35 million to build, opened in 1971 and served as the Cowboys’ home through 2008, when it was replaced by the $1.1 billion Cowboys Stadium. Texas Stadium was demolished April 11, 2010.
1. Three Rivers Stadium
Three Rivers Stadium was yet another “cookie-cutter” stadium. Yet what the stadium lacked in design aesthetics, it more than made up for in providing great memories to a generation of Pittsburghers. The Pittsburgh Steelers won four Super Bowls during the 1970s, and the Pittsburgh Pirates added world championships in 1971 and 1979. Three Rivers Stadium was also the site of one of the greatest plays in NFL history, Franco Harris’ “Immaculate Reception” in a 1972 playoff game. As a result of the stadium’s frequent appearance in high-profile sports events, even the most geographically challenged fans knew the stadium stood at the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers.
Three Rivers Stadium met its end on Feb. 11, 2001. In a tribute to modern demolition techniques, no debris from the implosion came within 40 feet of the Steelers’ new Heinz Field, which stood only 80 feet away.